The Law of Buy-In

The fourteenth law of the The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership is The Law of the Buy-In:

“People Buy into the Leader, Then the Vision”

Some leaders believe that if the cause is good enough, people will automatically buy into it. But people don’t follow causes. They follow people.

You are the message. Every message that people receive is filtered through the messenger who delivers it. If you consider the messenger to be credible, then you believe the message has value. That’s one of the reasons actors and athletes are hired as promoters of products (the halo effect).

You cannot separate the leader from the cause he promotes. It cannot be done, no matter how hard you try. It’s not an either/or proposition. The two always go together. Once people have bought into someone, they are willing to give his vision a chance. People want to go along with people they get along with.

As a leader, having a great vision and a worthy cause is not enough to get people to follow you. You have to become a better leader; you must get your people to buy into you. That is the price you have to pay if you want your vision to have a chance of becoming reality. You cannot ignore the Law of Buy-In and remain successful as a leader.

Summing-up: People don’t at first follow worthy causes. They follow worthy leaders who promote worthy causes they can believe in. People buy into the leader first, then the leader’s vision.

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